START ANYWHERE

Valerie Hernandez, ooh Squeeze Me I Squeak.jpg

Where to begin?

My body right now is a grassy field. A thin layer of vegetation blows in the wind over the surface, covering a mass of earth so thickly packed with buried bodies and rotting wooden treasure boxes and old pets, that no matter where you stabbed me, you’d pull out a shovel heaped up and dangling over with detritus well worth puzzling over.

I’ve been given the advice, when uncertain about how to begin a new art project, “just start with anything.” I’ve never gotten very comfortable with the practice. My style is more to hesitate for a really long time, considering all of the possible options for how I could do a thing, until finally I have no time left to get it done. Then, in the surreal frenzy of the approaching deadline, I find it suddenly possible to just elect a direction and go with it.

My ex-boyfriend called me Hesitato. Then he built three houses, won the Olympics, recorded a full orchestra opera and became a delagate to the United Nations in the time that it took me to record one record. Just kidding. Actually he just recorded four records. While I recorded my one.
Whatever.
At this point, I have hesitated so long that hesitation is no longer possible. It’s not even attractive to me. I mean, it’s literally not possible. In any direction, which I take a step, I will find my leg ankle-deep in some sort of compelling shit. Enough time has passed that the shits have evolved legs and crawled back out of the waterways right up onto my feet. I don’t even have to move to be pulled into things now. They wriggle right in front of my face, and it is more work to not see them than to just let them be seen.

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The thing is that seeing shits implies that a change is going to come soon.

You walk a new path to avoid them, or get out a plastic bag and clean them up. Change is hard, so, I understand why I generally do some avoiding before I get into looking at how things are.

The other night Dana said to me, “why don’t you stick that in your blog?”, in reference to a story I told her about long distance pooping. Amelia had initially told me the story, a few weeks ago.

Amelia said that supposedly, some people, in order to clean out their intestines after doing a fast, swallow a really long rope little by little until they can pass it out of their bowels. Maybe she said that it’s an Ayurvedic practice. Like, India. Yogis. She said that they don’t stop swallowing the rope until they see the other end coming out of their ass. Imagine this. First of all, there is a guy swallowing a rope, which is as long as his intestines, which are supposedly A MILE long. Right? The fellow is swallowing and swallowing, consistently, for certainly hours in this unending action of trying to get it all in, but there is always a little bit more to try and consume hanging out the front of his mouth. Eventually, he sees the other end has made it all the way through his body and is now arriving at the a-hole, and, hooray! he gets to cut the front end of the rope and terminate the gulping process. From there on out he enjoys watching a mile of rope exit his rear, and I am guessing that he will be looking forward to seeing it dragging out of his body all sorts of exotic excrements, because otherwise why would he have gone through the process in the first place?

The thrilling shock of what you might find coming out from inside!

Picking out your navel!

Where does a person have space for a mile long pile of shitty rope?

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I went to France. The pictures accompanying my shit talk are from that trip. The trip was pretty much spectacularly fun. A little disorienting, also, but fun enough to overshadow any confusing parts of the memories.

 

So, the hypothesis is that no matter where you start, if you work with sincere intentions and a sense of openness, you’ll eventually dig into something meaningful. That we are packed with enough meaning that we don’t have to worry that we are going about it all wrong, or being fake. The idea is that we are so real that we don’t have to even sweat it. This idea is pretty relaxing to me right now.

A shit is just the residue of digestion and decomposition.

The thought of the rope running through my intestines actually feels kind of good to me. The very slow scouring.

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I haven’t yet gotten to the scouring stage with my current clean-up process. I am more at the point where I am trying to take care of the mass bulk of the mess. Outer layers. Pulling up large shocking handfulls of revelation about myself.

For example: I recently realized that I don’t really believe that somebody could actually love me. Romantically, in particular. This is a real trip out to me. I guess that if I had this blog entry to start over, I would begin it with a psychedelic drug metaphor, instead of the fecal one, because my recent experiences of self discovery have been a lot more similar to the feeling of tripping out than to that of cleaning up poo (not to mention, I used poo in an entry last fall, and it seems maybe a little sloppy to bring it in again). But I started anywhere.

This realization about me and love has been blowing my mind.

Here’s what happened: I decided to quit hunting down kissing. It had become clear that the endeavor of chasing down the heat was throwing my life out of balance. My rent wasn’t getting paid. Driver’s liscence was suspended because of unpaid tickets. Things were a mess. I resolved no more kissing for a long time, just so that I could focus on the important things. For example, everything that I have, which I don’t have to go chasing other people to get.

I didn’t realize what the effects of this restriction on my movements would be.

It turns out that I had been kind of addicted to running after love. My eyes were wide with wanting it, and wanting to convince the person from whom I wanted it, that it would be a really good idea to give it to me. Once they were convinced, and the love became available, I would immediately run in the other direction, away from the love. I was good at running cooly, with style, which helped make it look more justified for me to be running away, because, obviously, my running style was so cool, there’s no way that the love that was chasing me could be good enough for me, right?

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It is hot to run towards and to run away from love. It feels wild and carefree and pretty simple. There is a strategy, which keeps it from being so simple that it gets boring. But overall, the design of the action is rudimentary, because the running can only exist in two dimensions. Running there and running away.

Once I stopped running,

I, whoa, could see a lot of the things that were inhabiting the space that I had spent so much time running through. This is where the trip out is occurring. I am walking slowly through these spaces inside of myself, shocked at all of the things that I am finding piled up along the walls. I really didn’t know that I was afraid of being loved. I didn’t know that the feeling would make me feel kind of gross and strange and undeserving.

I don’t even know what to do with myself now.

I mean, I am dabbling here in not running away, and that is good. But all the things that I see about myself. Just teeming inside of me.

The difference is that suddenly there is dimension. There are so many different directions that I could move in, and so much room for just laying in one place and and feeling the alternating waves of fear and pleasure and disgust moving through me at acute and obtuse angles. I can feel so much more if I am not always running, and, gosh, how much more is there out there to feel? I know that I routinely exhaust the concept here in this blog, but I seriously never get over how colossally strange it really is: the feeling of feeling.
And I guess that this is just always the trade that we are making; I will dip myself in and swim around here (in this love) and I will feel how it will feel. And it will wash through me in more tiny particles than I can count, and it will change me in ways that I am not anticipating, and it will more than likely hurt terrifically at more than one point in the experience of it. But the experience will come in small pieces that I can hold in my hands and puzzle over, and I will bravely allow them passage inside my tenderness. I’ll be getting smarter and stronger all the time. I’ll be braver and stronger for the fact that I allowed myself to be there, and to feel it.

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And my friends will be there.

August 4, 2005

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